For the second time in his career, Richy Werenski was in the final group – this time at the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota. Blaine is not far from where George Floyd died in the hands of police.
His first time in the final group, Richy lost in a playoff at the Barracuda Championship. That event is next week.
This past Sunday, Richy struggled with his swing early and never felt comfortable but still managed to shoot a one-under par 70, aided by a 3-under back nine. He lost two balls in the water and had a putt for par hang on the lip for an eternity. Those three strokes were the difference makers, as Richy finished two strokes behind eventual winner Michael Thompson.
For those of us back home in western Massachusetts, we watched in anticipation, including a viewing party for members of the Orchards Golf Club where Richy and his family are members.
It was not Richy’s play, however, that was noticed by one member of the media on Sunday. It was Werenski’s ‘Blue Lives Matter’ wristband that got the attention of this reporter. He apparently approached the PGA Tour during the final round, requesting to extract quotes from Richy to boost the media-contrived controversy. The PGA Tour, however, refused the request.
(Note: After an investigation, we found that the reporter in question reached out to the PGA Tour, not the Golf Channel. We apologize for this error. The above paragraph originally read: “He apparently approached The Golf Channel during the final round with the goal of creating controversy. The Golf Channel reporter, however, refused the request.”)
Having known Richy since he was 10, he is the last person who wants to make any kind of political statement. He is as straight-laced as they come, focusing only on trying to become a PGA Tour winner.
I can not imagine posting a top-3 finish in a PGA Tour event, and having a “reporter” question your wristband choice. Yet Richy had to endure these gotcha-type questions. I am told, however, he has the strong backing of players and the PGA Tour, which is understandable.
For the record, Richy has been wearing the ‘Blue Lives Matter’ wristband since his days on the old Web.com Tour over six years ago. He wears it proudly because many in his family have served as police officers. He wears other jewelry in support of his family’s involvement in law enforcement as well. That will not change no matter how much the media attempts to bully him.
Bottomline, Richy is playing some of the best golf of his career and now stands 70th on the FedExCup list with two events to go before the playoffs. He will be at TPC Boston (Norton, Mass) in a few weeks and it’s very likely Richy will be sporting the same ‘Blue Lives Matter’ wristband he’s been wearing for years. There will be no shaking this kid.
(Note: The original article included a sub-section with a sub-heading titled Doxxed by Golf Digest? This portion has been removed, and will be published as a standalone post. The new post will feature more context including commentary from both sides.)
The opinions expressed are those of the writers and not Pro Golf Weekly.